As a direct result of the 2008 financial crisis and the resulting recession that followed, Coronado Food Markets has been barely able to retain its market position and as a result, does not have the resources to develop a sufficiently competitive salary and benefits package to attract Generation Y employees. Despite this, it has come to the attention of the HR department that alternatives can be pursued in the form of benefits that are more in line with the lifestyle, attitudes, behaviors, and interests of individuals from Generation Y. It is based on this that the following investigation has been conducted to showcase the current characteristics of people from Generation Y, current market initiatives to attract them and possible strategies that Coronado Food Markets can pursue in light of the information discovered.
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Characteristics of Individuals from Generation Y
Generation Y, or the Millennials as they are also known, are nearly 80 million strong according to Gerdes (2006) and not only do they bring their tech-savvy skills to the workplace, they are natural-born networkers and “achievement-oriented” too. Gerdes says that this new breed of employees come equipped with a plethora of the skills that are required by major employers. It must be noted though that one attribute that employers cannot tolerate is the attitude of a “slacker”.
On the other hand, the Millennials do not enjoy the concept of employers who are slacking in their issuance of perks. Since they are so diversified with the skills they possess and the strong support they receive from their family, they feel “entitled.” According to “Generation Y in the Workplace” (2009), the Millennials have been “labeled the entitlement generation.” This sense of entitlement urges employers to stay competitive with the benefits that are offered to attract and retain the human capital that Generation Y possesses. As seen in the article “Best Places to Launch a Career” by Tanaka (2008), Generation Y workers value their employee benefits since this generation was among the hardest hit by the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recession that followed (Tanaka, 2008).
This was evidenced by this generation experiencing staggering degrees of underemployment, unemployment and severe student loan repayment resulting in greater satisfaction with benefits as compared to older generations. The inherent problem though with Gen Y (Generation Y) workers is that studies such as those by Tanaka (2008) have revealed that among all the previous generations this generation is the most likely to leave a job for better opportunities. This is not to say that this generation can be considered self-centered or disloyal, rather from their perspective loyalty is measured by their level of productivity and performance and as such the benefits implemented by the company to attract Gen Y employees should take this into consideration(Tanaka, 2008). Employers often make wise decisions and investments regarding their capital purchases.
However, Sullivan (2010) emphasizes the fact that employers have another major investment to consider, and that is their reward factor if they want Generation Y to “exploit their technology-driven talents.” It is imperative that employers revamp their incentives to attract the new generation of employees. It must be noted though that the propensity of Gen Y employees to think that performance-based initiatives are a sign of loyalty to the company instead of long term employment can actually be considered as a possible boon for Coronado Food Markets since the company is currently within a precarious position due to the financial crisis wherein it is unable to offer competitive health or retirement packages.
Benefits Offered by one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies
An examination of current practices by Accenture in their business process outsourcing division within the U.S., India and the Philippines reveals the use of performance-based advancement opportunities as a means of attracting and retaining Gen Y employees (Caravalho, 2008).
This process works by setting a series of metrics that each individual employee is measured by with an evaluation period coming once every 4 to 6 months. Should that particular employee meet the metrics set by the company they are immediately promoted to the next tier resulting in the possibility of reaching the position of an operations manager within one of the company’s many departments within the span of 2 years (Caravalho, 2008).
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Such a method presents itself as a quick opportunity for advancement and as such creates a certain degree of appeal for members of Gen Y that looks towards quick advancement and opportunities rather than developing long term relationships within particular teams. This method of performance-based advancement is in line with what was mentioned earlier regarding the propensity of members of Gen Y to view performance as a method of displaying loyalty and as such further reinforces the applicability of this particular strategy in the case of Coronado Food Markets. Other top benefits usually offered by companies within the Fortune 100 for Gen Y workers come in the form of the following:
- 100% employer-paid healthcare premiums as seen in the case of Wholefoods
- Compressed Workweek, Telecommuting, Christmas coupons seen in the case of Wegman’s
- Finally, other benefits which focus on the work-life balance, which is important to employees, come n the form of onsite childcare centers, subsidized gym membership as well as fully paid sabbaticals.
While it is unfortunate that Coronado Food Markets cannot provide the same level of healthcare premiums as some of its competitors (i.e. Wholefoods), it could provide benefits related to telecommuting, a compressed workweek and other aspects of the aforementioned benefits. Before proceeding it must be noted that aside from benefits some companies also provide rewards to their employees based on performance. As seen in the case of Convergys which is a global leader in relationship management rewards come in the form of percentage-based salary increases, being able to choose the ideal schedule for your workweek, getting several fully paid day’s off and other such benefits.
Standard Benefits that Appeal to Individuals from Generation Y
Studies such as those by Clark (2007) reveal that one of the qualities that increase the interest of individuals from Gen Y for particular types of jobs are the inherent flexibilities found within a given position. The concept of flexibility can range from the scheduling and time-off policies that are in place within the company to the way in which a job allows its employees to be creative with what they do instead of following rigid corporate policies (Clark, 2007).
What you have to understand is that compared to previous generations, Gen Y places a higher level of importance on the concept of the work-life balance wherein each aspect complements the other. By presenting potential employees with the opportunity to personally adjust their schedules within a reasonable level as well as allow them an appropriate level of freedom in taking time off due to various obligations involving their personal life, this results in a greater level of employee retention as compared to setting a rigid corporate policy (N.I., 2010).
Going back to the correlation between creativity and flexibility, it must be noted that individuals from Gen Y are far more technologically sophisticated as compared to their counterparts from previous generations (N.I., 2008). Not only that, they have been taught to be more independent when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks and solving problems. As such, it is recommended by N.I. (2008) that in order to attract Gen Y employees it would be necessary to create an internal business culture that fosters creative thinking (N.I., 2008).
Lastly, another standard benefit that is often given to members of Gen Y comes in the form of fully paid advanced training for their particular positions. This can come in the form of management classes, technical courses and an assortment of other educational opportunities that are fully paid for by the company. By providing this particular benefit companies are not only able to improve the quality of their workers but are able to provide the much-desired opportunities for advancement that members of Gen Y constantly seek.
One benefit that has been growing in prominence as of late is the use of social networking devices within the workplace. It has been acknowledged by various companies that due to the way in which Gen Y has developed, this has resulted in the need to be constantly connected to their peers via social networking and as such it has been increasingly allowed by companies that their employees can chat or message online, albeit to a limited degree and within a certain set of boundaries (Clark & Roberts, 2010).
Based on what has been presented so far it can be seen that individuals who are part of Gen Y value the ability to choose their own schedule, be allowed a certain degree of flexibility within the workplace when it comes the manner in which they work, the ability to properly balance their work and life and lastly they place a greater degree of importance on the concepts of opportunity and performance. When taking such factors into consideration, it becomes apparent that in order to bring more members of Generation Y into the company, the strategy that Coronado Food Markets must pursue should be in line with the aforementioned factors in order to properly attract employees of this particular demographic to the company.
Based on an examination of the pertinent points above, it is the recommendation of the HR department that the following benefits be applied to the company in order to increase the rate by which Coronado Foods Market attracts Gen Y employees:
Establish a performance-driven method of quick advancement within the company
As mentioned earlier, people from Gen Y are initiative and performance-driven than they are loyal to a company. The fact remains that Gen Y employees are more likely to shift to new opportunities when they are presented and as such it is necessary to develop such opportunities within the company itself and arrange it so that advancement is dictated by an individual’s level of performance. By creating a metric based system where people are evaluated based on their overall performance and promising quick advancement should such metrics be met, this would present itself as a viable opportunity within the company ensuring that people within Gen Y would remain instead of going to the next best opportunity.
The reason why this would be effective is that it conforms with the concepts of performance-based rewards and the search for opportunities which is ingrained in this particular generation. It must also be noted that performance-based initiatives would also help the company in the long run due to increased employee productivity and initiative.
Create a workplace environment that is flexible to the needs and attitudes of workers
Another possible solution to attract and retain more Gen Y workers is to develop internal policies that allow a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to scheduling, time off and the implementation of worker based strategies for improving the performance of the company. As it was mentioned earlier, individuals from Gen Y place a greater degree of importance on having a work-life balance.
This, above all else, is one of the benefits they greatly desire yet is often not provided to them within the corporate world which results in the development of resentment towards their jobs which eventually leads to a subsequent attempt to find a job with better opportunities and a far more flexible scheduling method. By implementing such a method within the company, this ensures that current and future Gen Y workers that apply will be encouraged to stay longer since they would be getting the flexibility that they crave from their jobs.
Allowing some degree of Social Networking
Another benefit desired by Gen Y that is unique to this particular generation is their desire to remain constantly connected to various methods of social media. What you have to understand is that individuals from Gen Y grew up in an era of technological immersion and the development of online methods of social communication. As a result of this, people within this generation prefer to be constantly connected to their peers. Unfortunately, a lot of companies have banned the use of social networking during work hours. By allowing the use of social networking with a certain set of established boundaries, this would encourage more people from Gen Y to apply with the company since their need to be constantly connected will be fulfilled.
Caravalho, G. (2008). On hiring generation Y. Public Management.p. 7. Web.
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Clark, A. (2007). The new reality: Using benefits to attract and retain talent. Wiley Periodicals, 10(1002), 47-53. Web.
Clark, L., & Roberts, S. (2010). Employer’s Use of Social Networking Sites: A Socially Irresponsible Practice. Journal Of Business Ethics, 95(4), 507-525. Web.
N.I. (2008). What millenial workers want: How to attract and retain generation y employees. Robert Half International, 1-21. Web.
N.I. (2008). Generation y in the workplace. The Bush School, 1-79. Web.
N.I. (2010). Millenial mindset. Employee Benefits, 1-3. Tanaka, J. (2008). Best places to launch a career. Business Week, pp. 67-81. Web.